Need a caffeine fix?
Aah, coffee… some people can’t stand the taste of it, while others simply can’t get enough. But love it or hate it, you got to admit — there’s just something about the wafting aroma of coffee beans in the morning that is just simply magical. Check out these brewtiful cafes for some of the best coffees in Singapore.
*COVID Update: Remember to check ahead and make your reservations with these cafes. Also, let’s keep our group gatherings small (maybe, 8?). Mask up, practice social distancing, and embrace the new normal.
1. Old Hen Coffee Bar
Old Hen Coffee Bar‘s cold brews are their claim to fame – understandably so in Singapore’s hot weather, plus the velvety smooth texture is easy on the throat. (Check out more cold brew cafes in Singapore here!) Look out for limited edition flavours released during holiday seasons, like dark chocolate orange during Chinese New Year and dark cocoa peppermint over Christmas.
Old Hen Coffee Bar, 88 Rangoon Rd, #01-03, 218374
2. Bearded Bella
Melbourne coffee has taken the world by storm, and now Singapore is getting a taste. This light, spacious space brings Melbourne’s café culture to life with industrial elements, greenery, and a glass rooftop, but that’s just the start. One of the owners was the winner of the 2016 Singapore National Barista Championship, so you know the coffee is on point, and the food lives up to Melbourne brunch-hype with items like chia pudding, smashed avo, and pulled brisket sliders.
Bearded Bella, 8 Craig Rd, 089668
3. Group Therapy Cafe
Kick back with friends over Group Therapy’s aromatic, full-bodied lattes or flat whites, and don’t miss its hearty sandwiches and salads. Weekends tend to pull a late brunch crowd all the way until 4 p.m., but perhaps that’s just a result of the laid-back feel of Duxton, on a weekend, seeping into the cafe and slowing time down.
Group Therapy Cafe, 30 East Coast Rd, Katong V, 428751
4. Dapper Coffee
You’ll be all ready to tackle the day armed with a cuppa from this joint, brewed with beans thoughtfully sourced from around the world. This cosy nook has its cheeky side too – if you’re feeling adventurous, try their bold experimentations like Unicorn Tears, a glittery, aquatic blue brew. The ingredients are a secret, but one thing’s clear: a whole lot of magic went into it!
Dapper Coffee, 73A Amoy Street Second Floor, 069892
5. The Coffee Academics
Listed as one of the “25 coffee shops around the world you need to visit before you die”, this famous Hong Kong coffee chain uses specialty coffee beans and state-of-the-art equipment to concoct some discernably stellar brews. There’s even a custom blend concierge where you can explore your personal flavour profile to create a bespoke custom blend.
The Coffee Academics, 6 Scotts Rd, Scotts Square, #02-01/02, 228209
6. Monument Lifestyle
A California dream come to life, this hip spot on Duxton Road specialises in barista-made coffee using beans from San Francisco’s Four Barrel Coffee and Sightglass’s flagship Owl’s Howl Espresso, delivering a refined espresso experience. Bonus: Not only does the cafe use sustainable bamboo straws, it also houses a lifestyle concept store that sells global merchandise, with a specialty in men’s clothing. Expect to find brands like Katin and Alex Mill.
Monument Lifestyle, 75 Duxton Rd, 089534
7. Chye Seng Huat Hardware
The cafe’s full name is Chye Seng Huat Hardware Coffee Bar, and the emphasis is deserved. Nip around the shophouse facade, and what greets you upon entering the (literally) post-industrial space is a massive central bar. The hand-brews are presented with utmost seriousness: a generous serving in a glass flask, a pre-warmed ceramic cup from which to drink and an accompanying note with details ranging from supplier background and tasting notes to bean varietal, elevation and crop year.
Chye Seng Huat Hardware, 150 Tyrwhitt Rd, 207563
8. Curious Palette
Home of the World Siphon Coffee Champion and three-time Singapore National Barista & Latte Art Champion, Curious Palette makes some kicka** cold brew! While you’re there, go wild with all things coffee with its Espresso Beef Stew or, if you’ve got a sweet tooth, the Berry Ricotta Hotcakes.
Curious Palette, 64 Prinsep St, 188667
9. Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters
Everything about Pacamara is a perk-me-up – from the natural light flooding into the beautiful white-washed interior (More beautiful cafes this way!) to the indulgent brunch fare to their coffees that pack a punch. Office workers rejoice – the folks behind Pacamara also run Alchemist, a hole-in-the-wall coffee joint in the CBD.
Pacamara Boutique Coffee Roasters, 185 Upper Thomson Rd, 574333
10. Wakey Wakey
From the creators of Strangers’ Reunion and Curious Palette comes this rise-and-shine café. Destined to be the newest hotspot in the culture-laden Kampong Glam area, Wakey Wakey marries industrial fixtures, sleek grey walls and dark wood furnishings. Still relatively new, menu details are sparse, but expect espresso-based and filtered coffee and treats like speculoos cake and buttermilk waffles.
Wakey Wakey, 302 Beach Rd, 05 The Concourse, #01-04, 199600
11. The Populus Coffee & Food Co.
This cafe-restaurant has a wide variety of filtered coffee from around the world. With a laidback yet classy atmosphere, this would be a good place to go for anyone who fancies himself or herself a coffee connoisseur.
The Populus Coffee & Food Co., 146 Neil Rd, 088875
12. Toby’s Estate
A popular Australian café in Singapore – and you can tell upon first entering, for the vibes are distinctly Melbournian – the star of the show is definitely the coffee. Behind each coffee is a story – Toby, the man himself, travels the world from Costa Rica to Indonesia and many more exotic locations for the most unique and interesting coffee, bringing the inspiration back to his cafes.
Toby’s Estate, 8 Rodyk St, 238216
13. d’Good Cafe
Each cup from this cafe‘s substantial coffee menu is carefully crafted with their house blend. Alternatively, create your own coffee blend based on your personal preferences from the café’s range of single-origin beans. Plus, bonus points for adorable latte art! Not a coffee drinker? We love the aromatic Earl Grey Lavender Latte as much, if not more, too.
d’Good Cafe, 273 Holland Ave, #02-01/02, 278992
14. Maison Ikkoku
Maison Ikkoku is renowned for having one of the best cold drip coffees in Singapore. Located at Kandahar Street, this quaint little cafe’s stylish decor boasts a super hipster vibe. Although $7 is a fair amount to pay for their Cold Brew coffee, it’s well worth it considering the amount of kick you get. This cafe is perfect for a cute Instagram and Snapchat story too, so smartphones at the ready!
Maison Ikkoku, 20 Kandahar St, #02- 01, 198885
15. Common Man Coffee Roasters
If you’re a coffee drinker at all, Common Man Coffee Roasters must be no stranger to you. Their extensive coffee offering ranges from their signature CMCR Espresso Blend to a manual brew from their range of single origins and micro-lots.
Common Man Coffee Roasters, 22 Martin Rd, #01-00, 239058
16. Mellower Coffee
Mellower Coffee has several centrally-located outlets in Singapore offering another convenient place to get your caffeine fix. Though it comes with a leaner menu, you’ll still find single origins, cold brews and espresso-based coffees, along with a range of sandwiches – think Turkey Bacon or Roast Chicken Salad – and pies, should you feel a bit peckish.
Mellower Coffee, 108 Middle Rd, #01-01 Bernhard Schulte House, 188967
17. Columbus Coffee Co.
Amidst the bustle of Upper Thompson Road, this stylish new brunch concept pulls no punches. There’s a simple, elegant menu of delicate-yet-hearty dishes, and a strong selection of coffee made with beans roasted by Two Degrees North Coffee Co. Interiors are perfectly minimalist with bare concrete walls, white accents, and the occasional potted plant.
Columbus Coffee Co., 220 Upper Thomson Rd, Thomson Garden Estate, 574352
18. Baristart Coffee
Sure, the quality of coffee beans matters when making a good cup of coffee but did you know that the milk used plays an important role too? From its original outlet in Hokkaido to its branch here, Baristart Coffee is determined to teach customers about the quality of milk that comes from this Japanese region. More than half of the milk in Japan is produced in Hokkaido; its cool climate and vast farmland contribute to the uncompromising quality of milk. It’s also home to a variety of cows, in addition to the most common Holstein cows (the ones that are black and white), so the milk produced here includes rarer and richer types too.
Baristart also aims to ‘nurture professional baristas’, which is why its name is a combination of the words ‘barista’ and ‘start’. The high-quality beans staff there use come from roasters in Tokyo and Sapporo, which pair excellently with the refreshing Hokkaido milk. Apart from the usual coffee drinks, there are other fun coffee options in the form of desserts that are worth a try, such as the Baristart Coffee (with panna cotta, cream cheese mousse and espresso) from their Sweets Jar (a rich, creamy dessert served in a glass jar) list, and Shaved Ice (Shiro Kuma) with coffee-flavoured syrup, served in the shape of a bear. So cute, we (almost) couldn’t bear to eat it.
Baristart Coffee, 65 Tras Street, 079004
19. Five Oars Coffee Roasters
Just stepping into this cafe will make you fall in love with it, thanks to its ‘industrial’ look. The minimalist decor and lush greenery make it a must-visit for anyone looking for a new Instagram-worthy location. Inspired by the vibrant cafe scene in Melbourne, you’ll get the type of coffee and food you’ll usually find in the Australian city – which also means you know the coffee will be good.
The minimalist theme stretches to its coffee menu too, as you won’t get a list of drinks like cappuccino or latte (although you can request for them from the baristas) — coffees are instead listed as black, white, iced or hot. The cafe has two house blends, which are rotated every two weeks or so, and seasonal single-origin beans are served too. And if you prefer filtered coffee, you can get it here as well, served using a pour-over process. Coffee beans are also available for purchase, for personal consumption. The cafe has an extensive brunch menu – served daily from 8.30am to 4.30pm – and the feasting continues in the evening too, with a different menu from 5pm to 9pm. Grab a seat, enjoy the coffee and the view and snap some gems for your Instagram feed.
Five Oars Coffee Roasters, 39 Tanjong Pagar Road, 088462
20. Strangers’ Reunion
This cafe has been extremely popular with coffee lovers since it opened in 2012. It’s no surprise that the brews are topnotch; after all, its owner Ryan Kieran Tan has come up tops in the Singapore National Barista Championship a good three times. He has passed on his skills to his team of baristas too, and they have gone on to win accolades themselves — one is a semi-finalist at the World Barista Championship 2018 and another is a three-time Singapore Latte Art Champion.
What all this means is that they know what they’re doing when they’re making your coffee and they also make it look very pretty (we certainly appreciate the art involved). The cafe sources for coffee beans from all around the world and roasts them in-house. Customers can choose an espresso-based cuppa or pick their filter brews prepared using one of four brewing methods: Aeropress, Syphon, Wave Dripper or Iced Brew, each of which highlight different attributes of the single-origin coffee beans used.
*COVID Update: Strangers’ Reunion is now temporarily closed for upgrading. Keep a lookout for their reopening on their Facebook page here!
Strangers’ Reunion, 33-35 Kampong Bahru Rd, 169355
21. Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee
Mr. Tan Tiong Hoe has devoted his life to coffee, starting a coffee business (Tiong Hoe & Co) in the 1960s, after a short apprenticeship in a Dutch firm, Mirandolle & Voute. He started out knocking on doors to sell his coffee but his business slowly expanded and he was soon supplying coffee to hotels, restaurants and ship chandlers. The company is still in operation today, as Fresh Cafe Distributors. In 2014, Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee was set up to sell mainly specialty coffee with quality scores of 80 points and above.
The store is currently run by the second generation: Mr. Tan’s son, Jacob and his partner, Juliana. While it deals mostly in selling its freshly-roasted coffee beans and coffee-making accessories, it also has a very small area where you can sit and enjoy your cuppa. This is for serious coffee lovers only, or anyone who wants to be introduced to a gem of the local coffee scene. Tiong Hoe gets its coffee from renowned coffee traders, through direct farm purchase and at coffee auctions, and the beans come from Central/South America, Africa and Asia. You’ll enjoy the heady aroma of coffee as you walk in and it’s definitely worth multiple visits as the coffee blends are served on a rotational basis and they’re constantly experimenting with various brewing methods, so you’ll get to sample a variety of coffees just by being a regular customer here.
Tiong Hoe Speciality Coffee, 170 Stirling Rd, #01-1133, 140170
22. Apartment Coffee
This cafe believes that every cup of coffee tells a story, from the type of variety to where it’s grown and the people behind the brew. Every detail contributes to the distinct characteristics of the coffee and Apartment Coffee hopes to share these extraordinary stories through their passion and craft. The type of coffee served depends on the time of year, based on the origins in season at the time. So, for example, March to June features roasts from Burundi, Rwanda, Colombia and Brazil, while July to October sees cups of java from Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia and some Centrals.
Even though this is based on the estimated harvest every year, it could change depending on factors such as climate and shipping. But what this means is, there’s a different coffee on the menu every few weeks so coffee lovers have the opportunity to ‘travel’ around the world through their favourite drink. Another thing we love about the place? Its bright, clean and minimalist white-washed decor.
Apartment Coffee, 161 Lavender Street, #01-12, 338750
By Pinky Chng + Balvinder Sandhu; Some text adapted from Her World Singapore + The Straits Times / Updated September 2019; Updated by Willaine G. Tan, September 2020. Images: provided by the cafes or from their social media pages.
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